God bless Rudy Giuliani for invoking the memory of the slain Israeli athletes and of Leon Klinghoffer in his declamation on the genesis of the war in which we are engaged. I waited in vain, however, for Rudy to note that the leader of the operation that resulted in Klinghoffer’s murder — Mohammed (Abu or “Daddy”) Abbas — had been holed up in Baghdad and sheltered by Saddam Hussein until his apprehension by American forces last year. (He died in American custody earlier this year.)
Fine as his speech was, that omission seems like a missed opportunity. Among other things, its addition to the history would have implicitly made the point that the lines dividing Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Osama bin Laden, the mad mullahs of Tehran, the Syrian Baathists et al. are blurred and indistinct. Contrary to one version of the Democratic arguments criticizing the war against Saddam Hussein, our enemy does not fit neatly within a box marked al Qaeda.
Rudy also left out another pertinent fact that had a place in his brief history. Among Yasser Arafat’s first terror victims were two Americans murdered on the direct order of Arafat — Ambassador Cleo Noel and his deputy Curtis Moore. Arafat ordered their murder in a PLO operation conducted in Khartoum, Sudan in early 1973. We told the story of that operation and tried to shed some light on the war in which we are engaged in “America’s unsettled score with Yasser Arafat.”
Judged simply on its own terms, however, it’s hard to believe the convention will hear a better speech than Rudy’s.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill